In my most depressed days, I’m not sure if I have friends. This isn’t a woe-is-me-no-one-cares thing. I think a lot of people do care, if by care it’s defined as compassion. That kind of care is common. Friendship, however, are diamonds, forged through a lifetime of natural, circumstantial means. There are a handful of people I call best friends, but I’m not sure they consider me that.

Friendship is a rare thing.

Most people aren’t really friends. For survival, people cling on to each other through necessity. We’re forever more isolated trying to be better, trying to look more impressive and more useful for other people to need us. The abyss is letting it all go and seeing if anyone would want us. I saw that abyss when I lost everything and went broke a decade ago. A lot of “my friends” disappeared, even the ones who (I thought) weren’t shallow. I saw the abyss again when I built my life back and these same people talked to me again.

In the past two years, I’ve naively opened up, believing that friendship can be real. What’s friendship to me? Friendship is loyalty, the acceptance of opening up, understanding, sharing each other’s worlds, forgiveness. I know my faults as a friend. When I care about someone, sometimes I cross the line and do what I think will help them. I’m ride or die. This can often times implode and I understand why people will get mad. This was the same reason I was mad at my parents for most of my life. They constantly invaded my privacy or nagged. But now, as I’m no longer young, I see this instead as rare love. True friendship isn’t keeping a distance and being agreeable, it’s about wanting the other to be there. In this age of ghosting and blocking, it’s harder than ever to let that kind of friendship grow.

I feel that people don’t seek friendship anymore.

Everyone is a tool, judged by their usefulness. When a T.V. breaks, it’s replaced by a new T.V. Due to a lot of bad experiences, I’m now skeptical about new friends. Maybe they have good intentions, but what’s going to happen at the first sign of disagreement? The first mistake? I’ve been cussed out on the street, had lies spread in public about things I never did, physically attacked by people I’ve shared drinks with and had rapport, these experiences build up and form my fortress of skeptism. It’s not only happened to me, it’s happened to my parents. I remember their friends when I was a child, and how those friends treat us now. It taught me that people judge people on social status and money, which my parents have neither and why they’re always alone.

You may say that not everyone’s like that, that you’re not like that, and the people you know aren’t like that. I’m telling you that I’ve been in this square one, that maybe the common denominator is me. I know I’m not perfect and the more I open up, I become less perfect. I’ve crafted a very likeable persona of me; the entire me, though, is human. I’ve learned that people will not forgive human. They may forgive if I’m still useful to them, but forgiveness is held by a string. I’ve seen people take off the masks and unleash their true feelings in the most profanatory ways. It’s why I have a hard time trusting. I’m always wondering how people really judge me inside. I’m waiting for that other shoe to drop.

I’ve been trying something new lately.

I reveal right away that I’m not popular, I have little to no social value. I’m not rich and even if I were, I wouldn’t say so. I want you to know that I’m not a saint, that I care about people in ways that cross lines, that my honest thoughts aren’t always the purest and politically correct. Ask yourself: if you’re in the business of making friends to raise your public profile, to mooch off money, to be told the things you want to hear, to spend time only when convenient, I’m not your guy. If friendship to you means perfection, absent of trials of forgiveness either by me or by you, we can’t be friends. I have tons of acquaintances; it’s a category most people would prefer to be in around me. In friendship, you’re inheriting a broken person, a cynic who early detects the signs of incompatibility. I know when you won’t like or handle the real me. I can very annoying when I’m comfortable and happy. I tell corny jokes and I’m weird and creative. I hate super-sensitive people and egomaniacs. I have a mask too. It covers my whole body and nurses a lonely, hurting womb.